MANILA (UPDATE) - The Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 response has approved the gradual reopening of barbershops and salons in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Saturday.
In a text message to ABS-CBN News, Lopez said the IATF finally gave the go signal on Friday.
He said these establishments would start operating at 30 percent capacity beginning June 7 in GCQ areas, and at 50 percent capacity in areas under modified GCQ, which cover most of the country.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, meanwhile, said salons and barbershops in GCQ areas will be allowed to increase operations to 50 percent after two weeks from resumption, and those in MGCQ areas to 100 percent after three weeks.
“Earlier opening was reconsidered in recognition of the very strict health protocol that was developed and to be adopted before they can be allowed to operate, to prevent any risk of COVID-19 transmission, as well as the need to start bringing back the jobs of the estimated 400,000 workers in the industry working in over 35,000 shops,” he said.
Lopez said these establishments should follow first the minimum health protocol standards set by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
To streamline the reopening process, government will do away with accreditation, Lopez said, though the establishments will be checked for compliance with COVID-19 prevention protocol.
“There will be no need for accreditation to remove any bureaucracy in opening, but there will operations audit to be done, and non-compliant shops will be closed down until they correct the deficiencies,” he added.
Roque said services allowed will be limited to haircuts.
“Pero ‘wag po kayo masyadong ma-excite dahil limitado po ang mga barbero at mga salon sa paggugupit. Wala pa ring facial, wala pa ring sa kuko, wala pa ring pagtanggal ng mga…eyebrows. Hanggang gupit lang tayo," he said at the Laging Handa briefing on state television.
(Don't get too excited because services are limited to haircuts. There's no facial, no nail services, no trimming eyebrows.)
The government earlier eyed an accreditation system for barbershops and salons so that these could reopen in GCQ areas.
Salons and barbershops are prohibited from operating in GCQ areas under the prevailing community quarantine guidelines of the IATF.
Metro Manila will transition to a more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) on June 1 after a 2-month lockdown.
Other areas that will be placed under GCQ from June 1 are regions 2, 3, 4A, Pangasinan, Albay and Davao City. All other areas in the country are expected to transition to MGCQ.
- reports from Arianne Merez and Aleta Nieva Nishimori, ABS-CBN News